Dessa Rose: Abridged

                                     DESSA ROSE
                             A Broadway Abridged Script
                                                            By Gil Varod






            SCENE: YEARS AGO, IN THE TIME OF SLAVERY


                                   Enter RACHEL YORK.


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (VERY obviously pretending that
                           she's "old", but not in "old
                           makeup" or anything)
            My name is Ruth.  I'm white and VERY OLD.


                                   LACHANZE
                          (also pretending she's old for
                           some reason or other)
            I'm Dessa Rose, the title character.  I am black, but also am
            VERY OLD.


                                   RACHEL YORK AND LACHANZE
            Both of us are VERY OLD and...


                                   REST OF FEMALES IN CAST
                          (running onto stage, singing:)
            WE ARE DESCENDED FROM A LINE OF STRONG WOMEN!
            WE ARE DESCENDED FROM A LINE OF STRONG WOMEN!


                                   THE MALES IN THE CAST
                          (also running onto stage,
                           singing:)
            WE ARE DESCENDED FROM A LINE OF STRONG WOMEN!
                          (awkwardly:)
            WE ARE DESCENDED from a line of...
                          (sighing:)
            ...ok.  This is the last time we star in a women-empowerment
            musical.






            SCENE: WHEREVER LACHANZE WAS ONCE A SLAVE


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (acting OLD, walking around in
                           circles very OLD-LY)
            Even back when, LaChanze always had a *fire* in her.  Also, a
            mighty awesome name.


                                   AUDIENCE
            Oh, I get it!  Rachel York is the narrator, many many years
            later when she became SO OLD she seemed like an ABSURD
            CHARACTERIZATION!


                                   LACHANZE
                          (suddenly acting young, again
                           with no makeup/costume change)
            Oh, lookame and the slave life I lead!


                                   THE FATHER OF 
                                   LACHANZE'S CHILD
            Oh, lookame as I play this Banjo I made!


                                   FATHER mimes what playing a Banjo would
                                   look like.


                                   That is, if he were an Audio
                                   Animatronic.


                                   LACHANZE'S WHITE MASTER
            NO BANJOS ALLOWED!
                          (breaks Banjo over FATHER's
                           head)


                                   LACHANZE
            No!!
                          (jumps on MASTER's back and
                           beats crap out of him)


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (acting older than time itself)
            What a sight it was, her jumping on her master's back while
            she was eight months pregnant!


                                   LACHANZE
            Wait, I'm eight months pregnant?  Graciela?!?


                                   DIRECTOR GRACIELA DANIELE
            Yeah... Hey, Toni?  Could you go whip up a "pregnant"
            prosthetic for LaChanze to put on so she doesn't look
            continuously thin?


                                   COSTUMER TONI-LESLIE JAMES
            I don't wanna.


                                   DIRECTOR GRACIELA DANIELE
            OK.  Then let's go with my second option.


                                   LACHANZE
            Which is?


                                   DIRECTOR GRACIELA DANIELE
            Having Rachel York mention that she's pregnant every nine
            minutes.  That accomplishes this just as well!


                                   It DOESN'T.






            SCENE: WHEREVER RACHEL YORK LIVES.


                                   LACHANZE
                          (back to acting old)
            Meanwhile, Rachel York was brought up with all the fine
            accoutrements of life.


                                   AUDIENCE
            Oh, I get it!  Rachel York narrates for LaChanze, and
            LaChanze narrates for Rachel York!  Which is PATHETIC
            considering that we STILL can't figure out WHAT THE HECK IS
            HAPPENING!


                                   RACHEL YORK'S 
                                   ASSHOLE HUSBAND
                          (entering)
            You have pretty hair.  Let's get married.


                                   RACHEL YORK
            Oh Momma, I'm going to marry ASSHOLE HUSBAND!


                                   RACHEL YORK'S MOTHER
            He is a good gentleman, so I am totally supportive of you in
            this!  Go get married!


                                   They DO.


                                   LACHANZE
                          (old-ly)
            But then they found out that HUSBAND was a GAMBLER.


                                   RACHEL YORK'S 
                                   ASSHOLE HUSBAND
            I keep abandoning you for periods of MONTHS at a time!


                                   RACHEL YORK'S MOTHER
                          (angrily)
            See?  You should have NEVER gotten married to him!


                                   RACHEL YORK
            But two minutes ago you--


                                   RACHEL YORK'S MOTHER
            Now watch me be pompous in a FORCED ATTEMPT at sorely-needed
            COMIC RELIEF!


                                   LYRICIST LYNN AHRENS
            Hmm.  Maybe there's a reason that in every other musical I've
            done, I've hired somebody *else* to write the book...






            SCENE: WHEREVER LACHANZE IS IMPRISONED (ALTHOUGH WHERE IN THE
            STORY'S TIMELINE IS ANYBODY'S GUESS)


                                   OBSESSIVE WHITE JOURNALIST
            LaChanze, I want to write a story about your life, and over
            the course of writing it I will become more and more obsessed
            with you!


                                   LACHANZE
            Well, I was brought up with a lot of siblings in South
            Caroline or Alabama or something...


                                   A half-hour of totally unnecessary
                                   "information scenes" are flashed-back
                                   to, told via the narrative of LaChanze,
                                   or Rachel York, or sometimes both or
                                   neither..


                                   LACHANZE
                          (in flashback)
            LET'S NOT NAME OUR CHILD UNTIL [we find] FREEDOM!


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (a senior again)
            And it was so, and she sang about this in such a confus-ed
            way so that one-half the audience actually thought that the
            name of the child *is* "FREEDOM".  And thus it was so, as I
            spoke like I was a BIBLE.


                                   OBSESSIVE WHITE JOURNALIST
            Wow.  That's an amazing story.  It's also amazing how you've
            wrapped the narrative device of an "old LaChanze" and an "old
            Rachel York" with another narrative device of YOU TELLING
            YOUR STORY TO ME.  And then wrapped that around a narrative
            advice of there being a novel about your life, wrapped around
            an additional narrative layer of a greek chorus, wrapped
            around an additional--
            I'm sorry, I'm having trouble writing this all down.


                                   LACHANZE
            Good, because I'm escaping!


                                   OBSESSIVE WHITE JOURNALIST
                          (actually convincing, oddly
                           enough)
            No!  I somehow or another LOVE YOU!






            SCENE: WHEREVER RACHEL YORK STILL LIVES.


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (Young again... or middle-age
                           now?  Who really knows.)
            Boy, I'm alone since my HUSBAND left me without true
            narrative explanation, my MOTHER left me without any
            character build-up, my PERSONAL SERVANT died without needing
            to have been in the story, and the NARRATIVE left me without
            decent reason for anybody being interested in my story in the
            first place.


                                   SLAVES
            We live here because you are lonely and will never complain
            about us hiding out on your farm.  Also, we've brought
            LaChanze here.  Isn't it time you two met now that the play
            is half done?


                                   LACHANZE
            I am finally here, and I HATE you Rachel York.


                                   RACHEL YORK
            And I hate YOU.  I will never, EVER become friends with YOU,
            LaChanze!
                          (winks to audience)


                                   LACHANZE
            Fine.  In anger, I'm going to SING A SONG TO MY BABY which
            spends 9 minutes of the musical NAMING ALL OF MY BROTHERS AND
            SISTERS for no reason!


                                   She DOES.


                                   RACHEL YORK
            Why are you doing that?  Does this show really need to be
            LONGER?


                                   SLAVE/ROMANTIC LEAD
            Forget that talk Rachel York, come talk with me!  I'm a
            randomly-chosen slave that you are romantically interested in
            for some reason or another!


                                   RACHEL YORK
            That's good, even though I truly need to learn TOLERANCE of
            BLACK PEOPLE!
                          (they caress and imitate a
                           Calvin Klein commercial)


                                   LACHANZE
            No!  I cannot stand by and watch this, as I truly need to
            learn TOLERANCE of WHITE PEOPLE!






            SCENE: HOEDOWN.


                                   LACHANZE
                          (old again)
            And then I found....
                          (back to normal)
            Geez, I'm ried of this overused old-narration plot device.


                                   RACHEL YORK
            What else should we do?  Does anybody else have an idea for
            some direction that the story can go towards?


                                   SLAVE/ROMANTIC LEAD
            I know!  I have this GENIUS PLAN where you keep selling us as
            your slaves, then we keep running away and then you sell us
            again until we've made thousands of dollars!
                          (sings about this and do-si
                           do's a little bit)
            See!  I sing and dance making light of the fact that you will
            sell us off at an auction market!
                          (dances some more)


                                   AUDIENCE
                          (queasily)
            I feel *very* akward watching this scene.


                                   RACHEL YORK
            Okay Slave/Romantic Lead, I'll sell you all off and you
            escape.  Now what part of your plan explains how you
            successfully escape?


                                   SLAVE/ROMANTIC LEAD
            Well... Um...


                                        PLOT HOLE TO:






            SCENE: A HOTEL


                                   RACHEL YORK
            Well, LaChanze, it seems like I've sold you guys off many
            many times and you've somehow escaped each time.  And now we
            have money, which you have JUST NOW AT THE VERY END OF THE
            PLAY decided you will use to buy your freedom.  But first,
            maybe we shouldn't HATE EACH OTHER anymore now that the plot
            doesn't require it.


                                   They make up as convention dictates,
                                   and both learn an important lesson
                                   about Black People, White People, and
                                   the wonderful BEAUTY OF GREY. 


                                   THE "BEAUTY OF GREY" LESSON
            You may remember me from such pop-culture pieces as
            EVERYTHING EVER!


                                   LACHANZE
            I'm so glad we're now TRUE FRIENDS!
                          (suddenly old again)
            And so, we became true friends, even though we parted ways
            never to see each other again...


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (also back to being old, ending
                           the play)
            But even though we never saw each other again, we TELL THIS
            STORY TOGETHER when VERY OLD because--


                                   OBSESSIVE WHITE JOURNALIST
                          (suddenly entering)
            Wait a minute!  I am obsessed with you LaChanze, and I still
            exist in this story!


                                   LACHANZE
                          (old)
            Oh, fine.
                          (back to young)
            No, Obsessive White Character, I don't love you.


                                   OBSESSIVE WHITE JOURNALIST
            Ah.  Good thing I came back into the play to clear that up.
                          (exits)


                                   LACHANZE
                          (old)
            Where were we?


                                   RACHEL YORK
                          (old)
            You were going to finish off the state of your suffering
            filled life with--


                                   A SURPRISING NUMBER OF
                                   "CRITICS"
                          (rudely interrupting)
            WE WANT MORE UPBEAT SHOWS!


                                   THE STATE OF DRAMATIC
                                   MUSICAL THEATRE TODAY
            Sigh.


                                        BLACKOUT.

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